Pharma Shopping is the practice of buying medicines through online pharmacies. This is a fast-growing segment of the e-commerce industry. It can save time, money and effort as well as the hassles associated with a physical visit to a pharmacy or drugstore.

Many of these sites offer discounts through digital coupons, but others require a monthly prescription fee that can equal or exceed the cost that someone would pay with insurance. This can also raise the risk of drug-to-drug interactions, which is a particular concern for those taking multiple medications. Similarly, some mail-order pharmacies only sell drugs in bulk (like 3- or 6-month supplies), which may not be right for some people.

If a drug’s price is too high, a good place to start is with your insurer. Some work closely with pharmacies and can cut your out-of-pocket costs significantly. In addition, if you have Medicare, a quick search can show if there’s a copay assistance program available for that specific medication, explains Ashford.

Lastly, look for in-house discount programs. These are often offered by pharmacy chains and can save you a lot of money—sometimes even more than your insurance.

But the pharmacy industry is not without its share of scams. Consumers should keep an eye out for “rogue” websites that sell unapproved products or skip established procedures to avoid regulatory scrutiny. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is stepping up its efforts to identify such sites, which it defines as those that do not verify customers’ identities or adhere to other regulations.